This interesting surname, with the variants Coleman, Collman, Coulman, is of either Irish or Anglo-Saxon origin, and has a number of possible sources. Firstly, the surname may be from the Old Irish personal name "Colman", from "Columban", a compound of the Gaelic elements "colm", a dove, and "ban", white. This was the name of an Irish missionary to Europe, generally known as St. Columban (540 - 615), who founded the monastery of Bobbio in Northern Italy in 614. The surname may also be an occupational name for a burner of charcoal or a gatherer of coal, from the Middle English "coleman", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "col", (char)coal, and "mann", man. Finally, the surname may be an occupational name for the servant of a man named "Cole". Cole was a Middle English pet form of the Olde English byname "Cola", from "col", (char)coal, presumably denoting someone of swarthy appearance. The surname can also be found as Coleman, Collman and Coulman. In June 1635, Barnard Colman, aged 26 yrs., departed from the port of London, aboard the "Truelove", bound for the Bermudas; he was one of the earliest settlers in the New World. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a shield divided per fesse silver and black, with a cross patonce between four mullets counterchanged, the Crest being a black greyhound's head, gorged with a silver collar and ring, charged with three black mullets. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hervicus Coleman, which was dated 1166, in the "Red Book of the Exchequer", Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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